Legislative Priorities

Legislative Priorities

Each year, KSBA releases a summary of priorities for improving education and strengthening districts. Listed below are KSBA's top legislative priorities for the 2020 general session in Frankfort.

Enacting a state budget to adequately provide for the students of our common schools

We ask the General Assembly to:

  • Increase funding allocated through Base SEEK, to restore equity across communities;
  • Restore funding to the Learning & Results Services (LARS) programs that directly serve our students, including: family resource and youth service centers (FRYSCs); instructional resources; state agency children; gifted and talented; and extended school services (ESS);
  • Provide funding to implement school safety initiatives as required by 2019 SB 1/HB 1;
  • Fully meet the state’s responsibility for safe pupil transportation, and appropriate a portion of Volkswagen settlement proceeds for the purchase of safe, alternative fuel school buses; 
  • Fund the equalization of local nickel tax levies for safe, adequate facilities; 
  • Increase the SEEK add-on rate for exceptional children (moderate & severe), and fully fund this add-on, to address the growth in this population including our children with delays caused by neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS);
  • Close readiness gaps through support of the HANDS program, and among our students in foster care through support to districts and the Dept. for Community Based Services;
  • Clarify district financial publication requirements to conform to recently enacted legislation allowing for online financial notices, by repealing the statute specific to district budget publication which was inadvertently not cross-referenced in the recent legislation;
  • Appropriate the full actuarial required contribution to the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), and the full amount needed for school employee health insurance, as well as the full amount needed for pre-Medicare retirees per the Shared Responsibility plan enacted in 2010; and
  • Direct LRC staff to study the adequacy of current SEEK add-on rates, as well as the sufficiency of current add-ons and the need to create new add-on stands for new at-risk populations.

Balancing school-based decision making (SBDM) council and school board authority

We must improve the balance in SBDM and board decision-making roles to advance both student success and public accountability.  We ask the General Assembly to:

  • Allow superintendents to select principals, after closed consultation with the SBDM council; and
  • Enact a review process allowing boards to examine council actions that may be hindering the operation of the district.

Supporting students in foster care through collaboration and information sharing

With a record number of children in foster care, facing significant trauma and unique barriers to learning, districts need help to meet their full educational and support needs.  We ask the General Assembly to:

  • Require a child’s social worker to accompany her/him when enrolling in a new school, in order to facilitate critical information sharing among educators, social workers, and foster parents;
  • Require DCBS and all private child-placing agencies to inform each other when any of them close a home to accepting foster children;
  • Require the Infinite Campus (student information/record system) to allow for easier, faster transfer of educational records among districts in the case of foster children.

Improving CERS governance & accountability to members, employers, and local taxpayers

School board employees constitute half of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS), yet these employees & employers are underrepresented on the governing board managing the trust fund and investing its assets.  We ask the General Assembly to:

  • Establish a separate, independent CERS Board of Trustees focused exclusively on the best interests of the CERS trust funds and beneficiaries, to provide transparency and accountability, and to protect the fiduciary duty owed to them.

Adopting tax reforms to increase general fund revenues, and to diversify local taxes

Statewide student equity requires investment from Frankfort, and the state needs additional money to do that.  We ask the General Assembly to:

  • Adopt a total moratorium on all new tax expenditures (credits/deductions/exemptions); and sunset existing expenditures as recommended by the General Assembly’s own 2018 Task Force on Tax Expenditures, to fix the “leaky bucket;”
  • Increase state revenue in a manner that grows with the economy; and
  • Provide flexibility & diversification, and sunset tax expenditures, in the taxes locally-elected school boards may levy, in line with the goals and tenants of state reform efforts (fairness, adequacy, competitive, consumption-based, etc.)

     

“If . . . we forget the children, and, in the slightest degree, fail to appreciate the obligations of the State to provide sufficient facilities for training them to be good citizens, we will . . . receive in the great hereafter anathemas, and not ascriptions of praise; and our work, however good in other respects . . . will undoubtedly, be condemned.”  

- Delegate William M. Beckner, explaining Section 183 at the Constitutional Convention on March 9, 1891

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